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Longitudinal research design

Is used to assess the personality trait levels of some group of persons on 2 or more occasions, often many year/decades apart

--> aim is to find the average level of a given trait across all members, then comparing those as observed at the different time periods


What are possible explanations for the changes in mean levels of personality characteristics across one's life span ?

1. Biological processes of maturation

  • being genetically inclined to show changes in levels of certain hormones/neurotransmitters which might influence personality characteristics

2. Important events/ changes in social roles might also have an influence on ones personality

3. Exposure to different ideas of different people

  • Social investment hypothesis


Is personality stable across our entire lifespan ?

Yes and no, Personality is somewhat stable during adolescence + even more stable during adulthood

--> less stable during childhood + early adolescence as personality then undergoes some larger changes


Which major challenges do researchers encounter when trying to assess children personality development ?

1. Obtaining an accurate personality description from them

  •  most can only describe themselves from the age of 10

2. Self report inventories usually used, demand a level of reading comprehension that isn't reached until adolescence

3. Behaviors + situations which are usually observed cannot be observed in children


Which solution was developed to overcome the challenges researchers where facing when trying to assess the personality development of children ?

A special version of the HEXACO-PI-R was developed, that was suitable for assessing personality in elementary school children

  •  included different dimensions that resembled the big 5

e.g.: activity level, irritability, fearfulness, positive emotions, attention span, soothability, rhythmicity


Are spouses similar in personality ?


the personality of one spouse gives little clue as to what the personality of the other spouse is like


Which personality traits indicate marital satisfaction ?

An agreeable + emotionally stable person is more likely to be satisfied with his/her marriage

--> regardless of whether 2 people are similar or different in personality traits, what matters is their individual characteristics


Attachment styles

Refer to the ways in which people act, think, feel in the specific context of their romantic relationships


In wich way is personality related to attachment styles ?

Having low levels of both anxious + avoidant styles will lead to secure attachment style


Are friends similar in personality ?



Friends only showed to be somewhat similar in the personality traits of :

a) Honesty-humility

b) Openness to experience


Friends usually perceive themselves to be more similar in the aspects of Honesty-humility + openness to experience than they really are.

Why is that ?

They often share the same values/views about how one ought to live + relate to other people

--> similar values are more likely to get along


How is personality related to substance use disorders ?

Low conscientiousness + low emotional stability is related to substance abuse

--> high levels of self control are related to success in quitting


How is longevity, meaning longer life spans, related to personality ?

1. Personality traits such as conscientiousness + social dependability were associated with it

  •  more dependable persons would be less likely to engage in health damaging behaviors

2. Cheerful + optimistic people are negatively correlated with longevity, because one is more likely to ignore diseases


How are heart diseases related to personality ?

Hostile people tend to create more stress for themselves by getting into conflicts with others

--> they have greater physiological reactions to stress than others

e.g.: greater increases in blood pressure, hormones etc => Type A


How is academic +job performance related to personality ?

Individuals higher in conscientiousness levels tend to perform better

  •  as this trait comprises self discipline, organization etc
  •  0.25


How is criminality related to personality ?

A persons likelihood to commit crimes depends on


  1. how much he/she fails to control impulses
  2.  his/her levels of manipulativeness + selfishness

--> related to low conscientiousness + emotional stability


Which personality traits indicate how satisfied one is with ones life ?

Extraversion + emotional stability are indicators

  •  both represent a tendency to feel positive emotions
  • we have a genetic influence on that


How does binge drinking affect the brain of adolescents ?

Brain maturation continues well into the 3 decade of life particularly in regards to PFC + hippocampus

--> results in increases risk-taking + impulsive behaviors



Refers to a breakdown in the transfer of info from STM to LTM

--> hippocampus is particularly susceptible to alcohol


Mean level change

Refers to gains/losses in specific personality traits over a pre-specified period of time + age in the life course of a population of individuals


What are the mean level changes in personality development ?

1. Most change occurs between the ages of 20-40/young adulthood

  •  BUT: it continues to change, even in old age

2. Time has a positive effect on personality-trait change

  •  people become more confident, warm, mature over time


Cause-Correction hypothesis

Changes demonstrated in psychological outcomes (e.g. depression) are the result of changes in the trait component and not the state component of personality

--> changes are enduring and have real consequences for clinical outcomes


Selection effect

Personality predicts the occurrence of several major life events


Socialization effect

Personality changes occur as the result of experiencing major life events


Which personality traits influence parental behaviour ?

Parents that are high in Openness to experience + extraversion tend to be more nurturing + less restrictive in their parenting styles


Type A vs Type B personality

Type A personality person is hostile, impatient and competitive

--> Type B behavioral patterns will indicate the opposite


Primary vs Secondary Psychopaths

1. Primary psychopaths will be rational when engaging in criminal behavior, thus will be less likely to be caught

2. Secondary psychopaths will be more impulsive when engaging in criminal behavior, thus easily caught


State-artifact theory

Any changes that we see in personality trait changes are a result of therapy

--> emphasis on the state were in


Rank order consistency

Our relative placement in personality traits remains stable


What are the requirements to change our personality ?

1. Being aware of the expectations of our social roles

2. Being able + willing to change our personality